Bobbi Lambrecht Scholarship Recipient Spotlight: Catherine N. Wamalwa

Posted December 23, 2014 | By csponline

Bobbi Lambrecht Scholarship Recipient Catherine Wamalwa

Concordia University, St. Paul recently awarded three incoming students a $5,000 scholarship. The awards were given in honor of best-selling author Cheryl Strayed’s mother, Bobbi Lambrecht. Bobbi returned to college to obtain her bachelor’s degree at age 40, making her a great example of CSP’s commitment to education at any age. Inspired by Cheryl’s speaking event at CSP, the scholarship is part of our commitment to offering students like you an affordable, achievable education.

More than 50 people applied for the scholarship. Recipients were chosen based on their application materials, an essay about why continuing their education was important, and an interview with the scholarship committee. Here is one winner’s story.

Catherine N. Wamalwa grew up in Kenya where she helped educate individuals about malaria. She moved to the United States with the assistance of a non-profit. At 51 years old, Wamalwa obtained her associates degree in nursing and is working towards her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The following is Catherine’s winning scholarship essay:


For some people, a degree is just a piece of paper that translates to higher pay or social improvement. While these things hold true for me as well, a degree is much more than a piece of paper to me; it is the accomplishment of my father’s dream for me to become a teacher and the culmination of years of sweat, tears and hard work. It is an increased capacity to improve the world around me and affect positive change.

When I was a little girl, my goal in life was to help people. I grew up in the Sub-Saharan Region of Africa. This is a massive land that is plagued by poverty, infectious diseases, inadequate sanitation, malnutrition and women inequality. As a teacher in this region, I facilitated many educational projects such as fighting Malaria, AIDS prevention and growing foods that were rich in protein and vitamin C rather than the carbohydrates that were the norm of these communities. As years go by, my desire to help others and improve the lives of those around me continues to burn unabated. It was my desire to help others that resulted in my becoming a teacher. I helped shape the minds of children who were beacons of hope for the future in the jungles of Africa. As a teacher, I loved being able to facilitate the growth and development of my students.

After moving to the USA, I struggled to find work as a teacher and resigned myself to look for work elsewhere, as I had no college degree. I took a Certified Nurse’s Aide Course and this was my introduction into the healthcare field. I worked hard into an Associate Degree in Nursing. These pieces of paper were the result of prayer, perseverance, countless hours of work and indefatigable support from my family. Like Bobbi Lambrecht, I faced this steep educational climb at an age in which most people would be considering retiring, but like Bobbi, I pushed through and earned my degree while working full time and taking care of my family.

I am committed to my education and my age is not an issue. The degree I intend to earn at Concordi, my BSN, will be the culmination of a life committed to education and self-improvement for the purpose of improving the world. With the degree I will be able to be a leader in the field of nursing and I will be empowered to revolutionize the way we care for our patients and the communities that they live in. I will bring my years of teaching and the experiences I have gained in life to the table along with the skills that I will learn as part of this degree program. This degree will be more than a piece of paper. This degree will be a goal accomplished and a dream come true.


If, like Catherine, you are ready to do more with your nursing career, earning your RN to BS in Nursing at CSP is a great place to start. Our program is offered completely online and is designed for working RNs who are looking to advance their career and increase their earning potential. Build on your previous nursing experience and become a leader in the nursing field with our online nursing degree program.